California challenges Amazon Air hub in court

by Inside Logistics Online Staff

California’s Attorney General is challenging a court decision that upheld approval for an Amazon Air hub in San Bernardino.

The AG, Rob Bonta, has filed an appeal in its own lawsuit that challenges the Eastgate Air Cargo facility, urging the court to  reconsider a divided panel decision that allowed the project to move forward, arguing that the decision conflicts with existing law.

The area near the San Bernardino airport “is home to low-income communities and communities of colour who already suffer disproportionately from air pollution-related illnesses such as asthma and heart diseases,” the AG’s office said in a media release on January 3.

Despite recognizing that the project will add at least one ton of toxic air pollution per day to the South Coast Air Basin, already the most polluted air basin in the country, and over the objections of the Attorney General and local community, the Federal Aviation Administration approved the project in late 2019.

Read more: Amazon Air selects San Bernardino as new hub

“It doesn’t matter who you are or how much money you have. You can’t cut corners when the health and well-being of our communities is at stake,” Bonta said. “The fact is: communities like the one impacted by this project in San Bernardino are all too often overburdened and under-resourced. These communities, who are already experiencing health harms from pollution, deserve to be protected to the fullest extent of the law, and through our Bureau of Environmental Justice, we’re committed to seeing this fight through.”

A ton of pollution

The hub, which includes a 658,500 square-foot warehouse, will generate dozens of additional flights and thousands of additional truck trips every day – resulting in an estimated one ton of additional daily air pollution.

Already being operated by Amazon seven days a week, and it is expected to reach full operations within the next four years.

The facility is located near the San Bernardino-Muscoy community in San Bernardino County, a community identified by the California Air Resources Board as disproportionately burdened by pollution. Residents in this area are among the top five percent of Californians for the prevalence of asthma-related hospital visits, and among the top three percent for emergency room visits due to heart attacks.